Sunday, October 31, 2004

Flashback - Halloween with Uncle Jerry 1999

This was a very special weekend for me. I was down in Ft Lauderdale, Florida with my Uncle Jerry for a couple of weeks. Jerry had primary CNS lymphoma which had been treated with Radiation. At this point, his condition was pretty variable. Some good days and some bad, and some terrible. He also had some dementia and pretty much needed supervision most of the time. A wonderful friend of Jerry's, Rick came down and stayed with him full time but I would come down when he needed a break.

Anyway, most of the week Jerry had been pretty under the weather, very low energy, pretty fuzzy, sleeping a lot. But then he perked up a bit. I really wanted to do something special for Jerry because physically he was still in pretty good shape and I knew all the supervision and restrictions were making him nuts. So there was a celebration going on down in Key West called Fantasy Fest which I was told was a pretty good party. We decided to go. So we reserved a room at the Atlantic Shores Resort. We took Jerry's VW Vanagon and took off for Key West.

We had a great time. It was a gorgeous day and it's a beautiful drive down the keys. The water is an amazing vibrant, bright, aquamarine color. Jerry surprised me by commenting "Wow, the water is so gray" He was color blind and it never occured to me what something like that would look like to him. He said it was beautiful so I guess he could see the clarity and brightness of the water but just not the green color. The Atlantic Shores is a great place. The pool is clothing optional and they play great music. Jerry was doing very well. So well that I could almost forget how sick he was. We went out to eat, watched the beatiful Key West sunset, and enjoyed all the fantasy fest crazyness. Jerry loved hanging out by the pool people watching and listening to music. He was extremely lucid and we had some good talks, too. When we got back to Ft Lauderdale, there was a Halloween costume dance, we dressed Jerry up as a construction worker and some of his friends took him dancing. When he came home, he just flopped on the couch and said "I danced my ass off!"

I will never forget the time we had together that weekend. I feel it was such a gift. It was the last time before he died that I really had the "old" Jerry to be with. It was great to see him having a good time. Shortly after I had to go back to New York. The next time I came down was about a month later and he had taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Then I stayed with him until he died, about two months, Jan 31 2000. There were still good days mixed in with tough ones. There were still times when the Jerry's sweet personality would shine through. But things just got harder and harder for him.


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